The son of a Congolese master percussionist, New Zealand-born drummer, composer and producer Myele Manzana has been a regular fixture within the modern jazz, beats and modern soul landscape since the late 2000s.

Myele first came to international attention while drumming in New Zealand future soul trio Electric Wire Hustle. In recent years, he's spent stints touring as part of Theo Parish's live band The Unit, playing alongside the likes of Ross McHenry, Sorceress, Amp Fiddler, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Marcus Strickland, Recloose, and Jordan Rakei, and pursuing his own musical projects.

Earlier this month, Myele released his second album OnePointOne. Stepping sideways from the programmed electronic soul/jazz sound of his BBE released debut One (2013), OnePointOne sees Myele exploring the other side of the coin. We all know what happened when a generation raised on jazz, funk and soul started making hip-hop. But what happens when a generation raised on hip-hop and neo-soul starts making jazz and soul?

Your new album OnePointOne, was recorded live in 2014 at a live jazz and art space in Los Angeles called bluewhale. Can you tell us a bit about it, and how you ended up performing there?

Bluewhale is a fairly prominent club for jazz and creative music in Los Angeles. A lot of the West Coast jazz scene like Thundercat, Kamasi Washington, and other less prominent artists have played there or cut their teeth there. As far as putting a concert together in that space, the crew who hosted it was theLIFT, who are made up of Jeremy Sole from KCRW and Jonathan Rudnick, who used to work with Gilles Peterson's Brownswood Recordings.

They recommended the venue because they thought the space would be a good fit for the music I play. I think they were bang on with that too. It's a space that is known for having a focus on good creative music. So while people were coming to see me, or see and international artist from New Zealand, it's also a space where people just go for that sort of music. It made sense, and they were very accommodating hosts.

How did you get the relationships in place to be able to travel from New Zealand to Los Angeles and make this show happen the way you wanted it to?

First off, Mark de Clive-Lowe and Miguel Atwood-Ferguson play there fairly regularly, and on the night I had them in my band. It's one of their home clubs, so I guess from the venues perspective, having them in the band made them more comfortable it would make sense in the space. Also, with theLIFT, who were the promotional team, we had a relationship with them from when I was drumming in Electric Wire Hustle. They'd hosted one of our first shows in Los Angeles, so it made sense to go through them again. They're good people, and they could connect the music with the audience required.

Aside from that, a lot of it comes from my manager Hayley Dingwall as well. She's an incredibly hard working manager and connector of events to people. She put a lot into making that show happen, from funding grant applications to film the music video for 'City of Atlantis,' to lots of back and forth on the logistics.

Can you walk us through who you had playing in your band on the night, and your relationship with them?

First off, I should talk about Miguel Atwood-Ferguson. In 2013, I had just left Electric Wire Hustle. One of the first shows I did as a solo artist was supporting Miguel at some solo concerts he was doing in Australia. Luckily Mark de Clive-Lowe happened to be in Australia doing some stuff for Melbourne Jazz Festival. I was able to rope him into my band to do these trio shows supporting Miguel. I got to know Miguel on that tour. He played amazingly and had an amazing band that was basically made up of members of Hiatus Kaioyte. So that was a pretty special performance he was able to put together. He was very gracious, respectful and kind about my music. We made friends pretty quickly.

When it came time to do my American album release tour, it made sense to see if we could get Miguel involved. We thought it would be dope to do something with strings that Miguel could really sink his teeth into. He has a working string quartet in Los Angeles called Quartetto Fantastico. He brought them in. He also helped translate the woodwind parts on my song 'City of Atlantis' from the original studio version to this live version with strings. He did an amazing job on that.

With Mark de Clive-Lowe, we've been aware of each other for years now. I guess he's been a real mentor to me. He's shown me the ropes and led by example in terms of being a musician who is independent, self-managed and able to be a global figure. He is all over the world, all of the time, and he's built an amazing career for himself; watching him work has been inspiring. He also kicks by butt about the organisational side of things when he plays in my band. He's kind of like the Jay-Z to my Kanye West. I've said that before, but he's shown me the ropes and let me develop my own way. He's a wise set of ears to bounce ideas off. I'm really grateful to have been able to work with him.

Ben Shepherd, who was the bassist on the night, originally comes from Tawa in New Zealand. Me and him came up together. We were in some of the same high school music clinics together. He was the classic child prodigy figure. There are legends of him practicing eight hours a night, then going to school the next day. He was the big high school musician figure for years while I was a teenager. He relocated to Los Angeles after high school to study at CalArts which is a pretty prominent music university in LA. He's gone from strength to strength ever since. He's been playing with Billy Charles, who is an amazing jazz pianist. I think he is on the Chance The Rapper album, and he's on Schoolboy Q's album. He's playing with all sorts of fusion legends and just taking off. I reckon in five or ten years people will be talking about him as the next great fusion bass player. He's amazing, and he's young too. He's achieved so much and has a long road ahead of him.

Who else was there? Nia Andrews. She's Mark de Clive-Lowe's wife and an amazing vocalist and songwriter with great ideas and spirit. She's on Solange's new album. She's also been playing with Common, Janelle Monae, and she helps produce music videos as well. She's a classic, amazing talent. One of those all-rounder characters and a really sweet person as well.

Lastly is Charlie K, who raps on 'City of Atlantis.' We met through an Electric Wire Hustle tour in the States years ago. His band Writtenhouse helped put on some shows for us in Boston and Philadelphia. I really dug his style and approach. He rapped on my debut album One on the original version of 'City of Atlantis.' I thought it only made sense to have him come out and perform his verse at the show.

How early on did you decide you wanted to record and document the performance for release?

The original idea was just to produce a live video for 'City of Atlantis.' New Zealand On Air gave us some grant money towards that. But because we had to record the song, we ended up recording the whole concert. When I was listening back to it, I really loved the sound of it. All of the musicians took it to somewhere I couldn't have imagined. The performance was really special. I wasn't sure if I should release it, or write and record a whole new album as my next thing.

After a while, I realised that concert was pretty representative of where I was going and the kind of musical message I wanted to put out. This is me as a drummer, it's live, it's raw, and there is minimal editing. It's what happened on the night. I really believe in that ethos of live musicianship and being able to present a one-time special event. The journey it took was a really beautiful one. I thought it would be a stronger statement on my part to put out something like this with no filter between the musicianship, the audience, and the listeners of the album.

We are at a point now, where a generation raised on genres like hip-hop and grime, are performing and recording their own takes on classic genres like jazz and soul. What are your thoughts on this?

I think it is really interesting. It's a testament to the age of the internet. There is a tribal bloodline of music that connects all of us. LA has its Flying Lotuses, Kamasis, and Thundercats, and they're all together. New York has always been a mecca for jazz, but it's also a mecca for hip-hop, so there is a lot of stuff happening there. In the UK, you have people like Yussef Kamaal or the whole Jazz Refreshed movement. In New Zealand and Australia, there is myself, Ross McHenry, Hiatus Kaioyte. I think maybe just on the fringe of it, Electric Wire Hustle would have been in there, but that was probably more in the producer soul realm than the jazz thing.

There is this big broad connection we all share, which I guess is the tradition of Fela Kuti, the tradition of J-Dilla, the tradition of John Coltrane, the tradition of Theo Parrish, or house and electronic music. It's all meshed into this loose sphere of Black Music which we are all drawing from. I've never properly worked with Yussef Kamaal, Flying Lotus or Thundercat, but I think we are connected somehow, whether we realise it or not. That's not for me to say I'm these guys, peer, I still definitely look up to them, but there is a language we are all speaking, and I think that is pretty special and amazing. I'm excited to see how all of this evolves, progresses and develops over the years. I'm excited to see what happens with the next generation.

OnePointOne is being released by First Word Records, a UK record label that really seems to be connecting the dots between jazz and beats, and producers and musicians, with its discography.

I have to very much tip my hat to the team at First Word Records. They're not afraid to take risks. I'll be totally frank, without wanting to shoot myself down, to want to take on a live jazz recording and put money and resources into promoting that in an age when records aren't selling much anyway, that's a brave and bold move. You aren't going to see any standard major label take that step.

I'm really grateful to them for supporting what I do, but I also think it's really smart on their part. Maybe this will become a surprise smash hit, or maybe it will be a slow burner which as the history of music evolves, will be placed in a context that shows that First Word Records are visionaries for being able to pick up a drummer from New Zealand and put that music out, and also put out music from a beatmaker from Detroit like Tall Black Guy and actually see that there is this connection between the two and really make a stand for that.

OnePointOne (live at thebluewhale) is out now through First Word Records ((Buy/Stream))